Saturday, November 19, 2011

Islam Was Supposed to be a Religion of Humility ... they say

head bowed to allah they pray
where there is a will there is a way
little children born to be beggars
what games can they play
women forced into beggary
stand by the mosque
black hijab turning gray
a few coins a greater insult
wont change their life
what do you say
yes forgive me
but i shoot beggars
by the way
building mosques madrsas
instead of building hope
a thought in a way
Friday is also
the muslim beggars day
allah ho akbar
upparwale ki jai

Deleted Dreams

the soul was willing
the flesh screams
an engine without steam
neither here nor there
it seems life devoid
of self esteem

Racially Profiled Shown the Door Along with The Hijras

"You are too kind. I'm very touched, and I thank you with all my heart. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if ever I can support you or answer any need, Thanks for your work, your heart and your dedication of your skills and talent to a community that still needs help as we seek to be understood and accepted, if not welcomed or lauded. But all will happen in time, I believe. Warmly,.

I was kicked out by the photoblogsawards hijras is a subject of racist hate in a white mans society..

Born From a Cosmic Womb

Message to me from Dr Glenn Losack MD

"I wanted to take the time out to tell you how important you are to me, to my life, my work
my thoughts, my philosophy, in my fight as a complicated man in this
difficult world i live in.

I have never had someone like you in my life and i wish i had known you long ago.

Your ongoing generosity and selflessness, the attention paid to my work with such fervor and zeal
i think to a large extent has contributed to my growth as a photographer and as a human being.

I can never thank you enough.

I only hope you and I remain connected as we have been for many years to come.

It brings me to tears all the attention you have shown me, the kindness you bestow upon me, the time and effort
you make to decorate me. the praise you give me.

I would do anything i could to have you be at CRY.
I dedicate the event to you and to Dr Robi Ludwig....

You will be missed.

I am honored Firoze
and I am forever in your debt"


The Magic Spell of Mumbai

178,316 items / 1,394,870 views

from every
part of india
they come
hate them
a kick
on their bums
the migrants
indomitable force
on roads
living on crumbs
some become beggars
some beat the drum
some become
thieves robbers
conman racketeers
some become
god men
nubile virgins
build ashrams
some end up
in a lunatic asylum
some feminine men
become hijras
to supplement
their income
some women
become whores
beautiful and buxom
in a harem
some starlets
some good looking guys
are called
bollywood strugglers
in filmdom
the lowest of the low
on a mound of despair
build shanties and slums
a vote bank
for a handful
of politicians
a valid ration card
voters card
now kindheartedly
some have their
shanties burnt
by crooked builders
you know the outcome
the magic spell
of mumbai
scams corruption
on the soul
of a fucked system
to become a raja
just apply
for 2 g spectrum

thodisi bewafai
bahut sara gham
tara ram pum
tara rum pum

The Malangs of Mumbai

he is the beginning
he is the end
haq ali
jan ali
jism ali
on him
we depend
nade ali
a message
to him we send
troubles misfortunes
he fends broken
fences he mends
in a world of despair
connecting us
to the maker
haq ali
mans only
true Friend

Malangs are Born Not Made

haq ali
jan ali
jism ali
cones to
their aid
the power
of nade ali
the power
of ahle bayt

Ali imaam-e-manasto manam Ghulaam-e-Ali
hazaar jaan-e-giraamii fidaa-e-naam-e-Ali

Haidariam Qalandaram Mastam
Bandaa-e-Murtaza Ali Hastam
Peshvaa-e-tamaam rindaanam
Ke Sage Kuu-e-Sher-e-Yazdaanam

kabhii diivaar hiltii hai, kabhii dar kaaNp jaataa hai
Ali kaa naam sun kar ab bhii Khaibar kaaNp jaataa ha

Shaah-e-mardaaN Ali
Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

Ali mile to mile Khaana-e-Khudaa saa hameN
Khudaa ko dhuuNdha to vo bhi Ali ke ghar se milaa

Two Malangs of Mumbai

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It all began when Nerjis Asif Shakir my crying round the clock grand daughter , needed to be quietened down than my younger son Saif would bring her near the passage in my house where all my jewelry hangs , a large collection , that by merely looking at she would just become soundless .

And so Nerjis Asif Shakir loves my beads my rings and my camera , her eyes light up when I hold my camera to shoot her , sometimes I let her feel the Nikon D 80 , she will touch it soothingly holistically . and she knows the button this 4 month old Malang . Yes we both are Malangs..

And this picture was shot by son Saifs wife .. three shots all well timed .

Nerjis Asif Shakir was away for a month at first she did not recognize me on her return last night but the moment I dressed up to go to work this morning she knew it was me her Malang grand father .
Children are very sensitive to inner thoughts and my grand daughter Nerjis Asif Shakir and I hit off beautifully..

Unlearning Photography Nerjis Asif Shakir Four Month Old

211,029 items / 1,748,585 views

I began teaching my grand daughter Nerjis Asif Shakir photography from the first day of her birth, I blessed her with the Nikon D 80 and by the time she was three month old she began holding the miniature camera , she watches me shooting her pictures so cosmically she knows the camera is part of her heritage , her sister Marziya Shakir soon to be four year old shoots the streets and knows the camera as a extended part of her vision and as her her extended limb.

Marziya learnt to shoot pictures with a blindfold considers my dear friend Dr Glenn Losack MD from Manhattan New York as her cosmic guru..

But Nerjis Asif Shakir needs no teaching , she handles the miniature like a pro searching for the non working buttons, I had picked up this minature at Chor Bazar and it has served us well.

My newest grand daughter Zaira Saif Shakir one month old only sleeps she hates the camera every time I bring it close to her she pushes it away.. her father wants her to be an artist.. she sleeps artistically ..

Nerjis Asif Shakir 4 month old on the other hand is adventurous loves my beads and loves sounds chants is a true Malang like me..Nerjis Asif Shakir was born on the same day as her father so she is Gods gift personally delivered to my son gift wrapped and all..on 17 July 2011

The Shia Back Cries

blood flowing
the world of a terrorism
on the sands of karbala
where the soul
of Imam Hussain lies
his memories
that overflow
the ponds in our eyes
hussain is humanity
a great sacrifice
tabbarah that
is our reply
cursing the killers
of our beloved Imam
to save the pillars of Islam
paid a great price
yazid who played
a political game
with a loaded dice
father of terrorism
just wont suffice
butcher of karbala
son of satan
burning in the
fires of hell
for his unforgivable crimes
to surmise
moharam a banner of revolt
against terrorism
1400 year old to be precise
muslims love killing muslims
to be truly concise
fragmented soul of Islam
by the radicals
with an evil device

The Eunuchs at Karbala

while shimr straddled
on imam hussains chest
cutting the revered neck
with a blunt blade
at yazids behest
such was his bloody quest
the eunuchs
so called muslims
of yazids army watched
but did not protest
silent lips
guilty conscience
you know the rest
karbala a mothers
robbed nest
the tears of the shias
that she has blessed
a cry of pain
from our bleeding backs
bleeding heads
bleeding breasts
hussain is humanity
yazidiyat is terrorism
for 1400 years
we have stressed
azadari e hussain
when the Imam
comes to Mumbai
as our guest
riding on a spiritual crest
a pledge
with our lives
we hereby attest
we all detest
yes we are shias
you have rightly guessed

The Silhouette of The Hijab

135,281 items / 1,022,446 views

inspired by my dear friend laurent

Designldg Laurent
I want to write a few words along this amazing work of photojournalism done by my friend Firoze but I am confused.
I am confused because I am coming from a culture which doesn't understand women wearing a hijab, a few days ago it became officially forbidden to wear it in public in France.
However my adopted country is India where I spend most of my... See More time and there I have friends whom wives, mothers or sisters wear it.
When I talked to those ladies I realized that some of them decided to wear it and sometimes even against the will of their husbands.
As my dearest friend Aleem said if everyone was respecting each others there would be no need for it.
I also think that everyone should be free to do whatever she/he wants or feel.
Women are oppressed all over the world at different levels, it started in the Holy Scriptures with Eve (Hawwâ’- حواء) who succumbed to the serpent's temptation and has eaten the forbidden fruit.
Of course this is was a parable nevertheless today women still have to bear the consequences of this metaphor as if men were forgetting that their mothers are also women...
Education is the only way to emancipate women and to avoid oppression from men.
Sorry to take so much space here, I just felt writing my thoughts while watching those pictures...
Have a nice day everyone.

My reply in gratitude and humility

Thank you Laurent your words are your moments of experience as a person of French origin, but having watched Marziya take to the hijab, I feel differently I think a person has a right to wear the garment of her choice oppression can be inherent even when the person does not wear the hijab, wife beatings , women forced into slavery is an oppression and women s oppression begins the day she gives birth in a mans world where mostly she is treated as a commodity as a mere organ of productivity.

I cannot say much about Sarkozy and France , he has a agenda and France has not been France by only banning religious symbols or the Hijab.

France gave us Liberty Freedom Equality and definitely not racial profiling but than respect to your laws and regulations is part of the ethos of your country.

Public opinion good or bad will always raise its head we live in a free world - freedom of expression is the core of mans humanity and peace .

It also depends on individual Muslim backgrounds a Muslim comes from , luckily at our house the hijab was not an issue nor was it compulsory, my sisters never wore it dont wear it at all but my mother did.

My wife began wearing it as she suffers from an ultra violet ray condition initially than it became part of her traditional spirituality.

My daughter does not wear the hijab only the head scarf, my daughter in laws who are my daughters now wear the hijab as it was part of the heritage of their lives since young they brought it to our house..

So in a way the hijab here in India has a unique uniformity as a Muslim identifying sartorial garb , a garb of modesty.

The complete head to toe covering is the more conservative and is become the flavor of our times.

But for security purposes I think the Muslim woman should let it down willingly while entering a place of a high risk government building..

And I digress as much as the hijab is a garment of Peace it is worn by terrorists to show they are Muslims and as Muslims love to blow up Holy Shrines of Shias or other sect is part of the ideology of Misplaced Jehad and Martyrdom/

And I respect Aleems views , he is a wise person but his thoughts or mine are not part of a majority Muslim society , whose members might ogle at another woman lustfully but keep their own women covered from head to toe..cheek and jowl.

More important than just the Hijab and over blowing its faults and its virtues the fact remains Muslim womans emancipation , education self survival and her place in society with dignity is far more a burning issue I would not be shooting ladies begging on the streets , veiled or unveiled.

I dont sell my pictures nor do I need to gain cookie points.

Being a foreigner or a person who is not a Muslim whose wife or women relative dont wear the hijab it is not part of your tradition or culture and using cudgels of hate to ban or condemn the hijab is unnecessary hate and racial profiling.

These are my personal views and not part of my community or my religiosity.. I echo my pain my thoughts I am opinionated but so are all of you most of the time..

Good Morning from Mumbai.

where the hijab
is not part of
their custom
tradition those that
are not muslims
dont know what
the core essence
of the hijab is
they love to bash it
burn it condemn it
as is where is
a garment of modesty
not a garment of oppression
they deliberately confuse
ignorance is bliss
racial profiling
a thought amiss
respect better opportunities
is more important than all this
the woman within the hijab
has a right to wear what
she wants to wear
you simply
with words of hate
a freedom of expression
sartorial or spiritual
cannot dismiss
or place it on a black list
understand the reality
the ancestry of the hiab
before you say something
is my gist
dont wrongfully
give it an ugly twist
let the hijab
the muslim woman
who wears it
mutually co exist

your support
in this regard
we enlist
hope and humanity
live and let live

Moharam in Mumbai Chehlum or Arbaeen

About Arbaeen

Arbaeen (Arbayeen) means "forty" in Arabic, or Chehlum, as it is known by Urdu-speaking Muslims, is a Shia religious observation that occurs 40 days after the Day of Ashura (Aashura/Ashurah), the commemoration of the martyrdom by beheading of Imam Husayn Ibn Ali (as), the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) which falls on the 20th day of the second month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar called as Safar. Imam Husayn Ibn Ali (as) and 72 supporters died in the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (680 CE). Forty days is the usual length of the time of mourning in many Islamic cultures.

Number forty is mystic in Theosophy. According to the Islamic culture if someone practices a good deed constantly during forty days, it would be his inseparable attribute and lead to descending of Allah's blessing. In some religions forty days and forty nights praying has been special position.

When Prophet Musa / Moses (pbuh) prayed forty nights; found the ability to hear the words of Allah (SWT), "And when We appointed a time of forty nights with Musa, then you took the calf (for a god) after him and you were unjust." [Glorious Quran 2:51]

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "Whoever dedicates himself to Allah (SWT) for forty days, will find springs of wisdom sprout out of his heart and flow on his tongue."

Commemorating of the fortieth day of deeds by their family and giving alms is one of the common customs among some of the Muslims.

The 40th [Arbaeen (Arbayeen) or Chehlum] marks an important turning point in the movement of Karbala (Kerbala). This day, which is no less important to the day of Ashura (Aashura/Ashurah) is important for many reasons - the prime being that the Ahlul Bayt reached the land of Karbala on this day and performed the visitation to Sayyid ash-Shuhada al-Husayn (as) and the loyal family and friends who gave their life for the cause of Islam.

Although the historians differ on when this event transpired; some say it was in the same year of the massacre in Karbala in the year 61 AH, whilst other say it was in the following year 62 AH. Whatever the case, the atrocities and difficulties which the family of Prophet Muhammad (saw) was put through in the court of Yazid and the long ride to Karbala culminated on the 20th of Safar on the empty plains of Karbala.

According to most widely accepted traditions, the family of Prophet Muhammad (saw) remained in captivity for about a year in Damascus by Yazid, the Umayyad Caliph. After one year when the ruler of Shaam (Syria) were forced to release them, Bibi Zainab (sa) said to Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn as-Sajjad (as) that she wanted to go back to Karbala to mourn his brother and all the martyrs of Karbala. The same was desired by other women of this caravan and Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn as-Sajjad (as) directed them towards Karbala.

The grave of Imam Husayn Ibn Ali (as) was not desolate as some may expect. Rather, as the Ahlul Bayt were approaching Karbala, there were a few people already at the grave, marking his martyrdom with tears. The individual, who had been a companion of Prophet Muhammad (saw) - Jabir ibne Abdullah al-Ansari (who at this point was blind) - along with his assistant (Atiyya bin Saad), had made the trek from Madina to the place of martyrdom of his Imam and master, Imam Husayn Ibn Ali (as). Jabir ibne Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) called out to his Imam, "I testify that you are the son of the Seal of the Prophets, the son of the Master of the Faithful, the son of the inseparable ally of piety, the descendant of guidance." His servant, Atiyya bin Saad noted to him that he could see a caravan of people in the distance and they were approaching this sacred site. As they approached, they realized that this was none other than the caravan of present Imam, Ali ibn al-Husayn as-Sajjad (as) with the other family members and assistants!

The historians note that at this point, Jabir ibne Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) and his assistant, Atiyya bin Saad, moved out of the way so that the women of the Ahlul Bayt and the others could show their grief at the sacred grave in privacy and according to reports, the heads of the martyrs were also buried at this point in time - as before leaving Shaam (Syria), they were given back the sacred heads of the martyrs.

According to a famous saying of Imam Hasan Askari (as) - there are five characteristics of a Momin (faithful):

Performing fifty-one (51) Rakaat Prayer (Salat) during the day and night in 24 hours;
Fajr - 2 Wajib and 2 Nafl,
Zuhr - 4 Wajib and 8 Nafl,
Asr - 4 Wajib and 8 Nafl,
Maghrib - 3 Wajib and 4 Nafl,
Ishaa - 4 Wajib and 1 Nafl (2 Rakaat in sitting position counted as 1 Rakaat),
Namaz-e-Shab or Tahajjud - 11 Rakaat Sunnat
Recitation of Ziarat-E-Imam Husayn (as) on the 40th day of his martyrdom (20th of Safar) called as Ziyarat-E-Arbaeen;
Wearing Aqeeq Ring in the right hand;
To put the forehead on the earth (preferably on the earth of Karbala, Khak-E-Shifa) in prostration (Sajda); and
To pronounce "Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem" in clear and loud voice while praying the Salat.

The occasion of Arbaeen (Arbayeen) or Chehlum reminds the faithful of the core message behind Imam Husayn's martyrdom: establishing justice and fighting injustice, no matter what its incarnation - a message that strongly influenced subsequent Shia uprisings against the tyranny of Umayyad and Abbasid rule.

These forty days are a suitable opportunity for people to develop the love of Imam Husayn (as) and hate his murderers, in their hearts. Forty consecutive days, from Ashura up to Arbaeen, also is a national ceremony of aversion announcement from oppressors of the history.

O Husayn, commemoration of your revolution from Ashura up to Arbaeen makes the world pay attention to the message of the resurrection. Ashura is martyrdom day of the history makers and Arbaeen is pilgrimage day of Ashura makers.

Arbaeen philosophy shows itself, and we can teach martyrdom lesson from this class and prepare ourselves in order to help our master Imam Mahdi (as) [May Allah hasten his reappearance].

Ziyarat-E-Arbaeen, Ziyarat of ArbaeenAs a sign of loyalty to the martyrs, we have been ordered to recite the Ziyarat of Arbaeen on the day of Arbaeen.

Why is so much importance given to the performance of the Ziyarat-E-Arbaeen and the observance of Arbaeen (40 days of mourning)?

Ziyarat, as we all know is a visitation, which in essence, is the act of speaking with and visiting our role models. Of course the physical manifestation of the Ziyarat is actually being present in Karbala to perform the Ziyarat-E-Arbaeen, but, in reality, that is not possible for every believer. So, does making Ziyarat while not in Karbala give one the same benefits? Ahadith tell us that performing the Ziyarat of Imam Husayn (as) far from Karbala would hold the same significance as being in the land of Karbala, as long as the person performing the Ziyarat has truly understood the status of the Imam Husayn (as) and seeks to emulate him.

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) states that the heavens wept over Imam Husayn (as) for forty mornings, rising red and setting red. As we complete 40 days of remembrance of our Imam, we re-assert our pledge of obedience and loyalty to him,

"I bear witness that you are the Imam (who is) the upright, the pious, well-pleased (with Allah), the pure, the guide and the rightly-guided. I bear witness that you fulfilled the pledge of Allah and you struggled in His way.I am a friend of whoever befriends him ..."

By performing the Ziyarat-E-Arbaeen, we pledge that we will continue to follow the path of justice and righteousness and will reject injustice and speak up against the oppressors of the time; I am an enemy of whoever is his enemy...

In essence, we make a promise to continue to mold our lives according to the teaching of Imam Husayn (as). But why is it that we mourn and remember Imam Husayn (as) for a period of forty days and then move on?

Our Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said, "The earth mourns the death of a believer for forty mornings." Therefore it appears that the deceased should be remembered and mourned over for a period of forty days. Performing an act for a continuous period of forty days is also known to help one to not just form a habit, but also to carry on the practice for the rest of his life.

If we look at studies dealing with bringing a lifestyle change, we notice the time period emphasized to bring about a change is usually 6 weeks which is about the same time period as 40 days (to be exact it is 42 days).

In the book 40 Days to Personal Revolution: A Breakthrough Program to Radically Change Your Body and Awaken the Sacred Within Your Soul, the author Baron Baptiste explains the significance of forty days:

Why forty days? Because the number 40 holds tremendous spiritual significance in the realm of transformation. Jesus wandered in the desert for forty days in order to experience purification and come to a greater understanding of himself and his mission. Moses and his people traveled through the desert for forty years before arriving at their home in the holy land. Noah preserved the sacredness of life by sailing his ark for forty days and forty nights. According to the Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mystical text, it takes forty days to ingrain any new way of being into our system...

Reciting particular Duas for a period of 40 days is highly recommended in our practices as well. The unit 40 (forty) is said to be very effective. If a particular Dua is recited 40 times, or 40 people gather to recite it, or it is recited for 40 days then its effectiveness is highly increased.

It is reported from Imam Jaffer Sadiq (as) that whoever recites Dua-E-Ahad for forty days, after morning prayers will be amongst the helpers of the 12th Imam Mahdi (as). Visitation of the shrine of Imam Husayn (as) as well as Masjid-E-Sahla for 40 consecutive Thursdays is also very highly recommended and is one of the acts that promises a visit from the 12th Imam Mahdi (as).

Thus, as we perform the Ziyarat-E-Arbaeen and commemorate the Arba'een, 40 days of mourning of Imam Husayn (as), we hope and pray that this forty days of remembrance of Imam Husayn (as), brings about a transformation in us by which we can continue to follow the path of Imam Husayn (as) and carry on his message of upholding justice with true faith and a strong sense of sacrifice!

Shooting Moharam In Mumbai Ashura

211,028 items / 1,748,522 views

I am updating this post for a few of my foreigner friends who are contemplating of staying back and shooting Ashura in Mumbai..they were planning to leave at the end of the month , but they want to get some footage of this huge event that touches Shias all over the world.

My American Guru friend family Dr Glenn Losack shot this in 2008 the Chehlum juloos in Mumbai I had stitched a black Indian trouser and a sleeveless jacket he wore his green Tshirt, black is the dress code of this mournful moment , dont wear red and try shooting this event as tempers get frayed , women should have a head scarf that makes their presence agreeable to the crowds..

Because the Shias bleed , it is better to remove your footwear shoot them barefeet .. they get upset when photographers enter the cordon with shoes .. you can remove it at the edge take a shot and wear it back again , for Dr Glenn I am making a footwear of thick black socks..

The Ashura juloos begins at about 4.30 pm after the Shias break an enforecd fast called Fakke Shikani with dal and rice or the quintessential Irani khichda..

The alams or standards ,and the Shia groups called Anjumans each representing an area in Mumbai or from out station recite nohas matams , on the roads , there is heavy police bandobast, ambulances first aid kits .. and once the juloos reaches JJ Hospital corner from Yaqob Gully , or a little ahead from Imamwada , the kama matam starts , cutting of heads , by a contigent led by Habib and Baqar Nasser dear friends and photographers too..

I cut my head here with their anjuman , and once my wound is cleaned up , I start shooting the events , but the bleeding does not stop, firstly because I am a diabetic , and I dont use ointment antibiotics or antiseptic , my wound is cleaned with water or rose water.

Even the dagger I use was used by a person before me only washed or I use it as it is .. after cuttig my head leaping and hitting the dagger on my head the guys pull away the dagger from my hands , and than I hit my hands on the wound to open it up more and let the blood flow .,.

Even little children have their heads cut by the adults and this is a vow the parents took before the male child was born..this is known as Mannat or fulfilling of a Mannat or wish.

Girls dont cut their heads but this custom is prevalent a lot in Hyderabad and child kama too.

The Mumbai kama matam the Mumbai sword matam is very vicious ..dangerous too..

The juloos or procession moves from the streets of JJ to Dongri towards Mazgaoan the Shia cemetery called Rehmatabad .. inside the cemetery is jam packed for a majlis by Maulana Athar Sab called Shame Ghariba ..

As soon as the majlis ends the hardcore sword zanjir kama matam begins for about an hour , sometimes it is pitch dark as the lights are switched off only the shining blades and the sounds of Ya Hussain nothing else.

The zuljana the replica of the steed the taboot little children shouting Wa Waila Wa Waila make their appearance in this moment of pain called Ghame Hussain.
Shooting the cemetery sequence is sheer impossible , there is no safe place and media is not allowed this is a private affair , the Shias shoot it ..

I have cut my head in the cemetery too after having cut my head outside on the roads and it was painful as the blood messed up my camera and the camera lens.

Dr Glenn Losack will shoot this event with me .. hopefully..